CHICAGO (CBS) — Extra security will be in place Monday night at the Chicago Bears’ home opener at Soldier Field, after suspected terror attacks in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota over the weekend.
While there is no specific threat in Chicago, authorities said they aren’t taking anything for granted in a major city that was once home to President Barack Obama.
The Monday Night Football game between the Bears and Eagles will be played under intense scrutiny after 29 people were injured in an explosion in a New York City dumpster and eight people were stabbed in a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Minnesota attack.
Authorities also are investigating an explosion in a garbage can near a Marine Corps charity run in New Jersey. No injuries were reported in that blast.
Homeland security experts said there are no credible threats against Chicago, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of people who want to harm the city and its people.
“This is where Barack Obama is from, and he has had a very aggressive policy of using drones to attack terrorists in various parts of the world, stepping up the efforts against ISIS now in Syria and Iraq,” CBS 2 Security Consultant Ross Rice said. “There is no place a terrorist would rather attack than Chicago.”
Security measures at Soldier Field have been enhanced, along with procedures at all NFL stadiums this year. That means all fans will enter through metal detectors, and all carry-in items will be searched.
Any bags brought into the stadium should be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC; and should be no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches. Small clutch-style bags, about the site of a hand, also are allowed.
Backpacks, cinch-style bags, camera bags and fanny packs are all prohibited in NFL stadiums. A secondary perimeter will be set up outside Soldier Field, with officials looking for people approaching with prohibited items and telling them to take those items back to their cars.
Police and emergency management officials also have asked the public to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity.
“If you’re at a venue where someone is taking pictures of HVAC systems, or air conditioning systems, as opposed to taking pictures of artwork; if somebody’s pacing off distances, or conducting surveillance on how often the security changes – those are the kind of things that we want the public to be looking for,” said Ernest Brown, executive director of the Cook County Department of Homeland Security.